Winning the loyalty of sustainability spenders

As Earth Day approaches, research from CGA by NIQ reveals what suppliers need to do to earn the spending of eco-conscious consumers.

The January edition of CGA’s OPUS survey showed more than two thirds (68%) of British consumers now try to lead an environmentally friendly lifestyle. This awareness heavily influences their spending, with 47% and 41% of consumers proactively choosing sustainable food and drink brands respectively.


CGA’s expert analysis of the sustainability issue includes segmentation of consumers’ different attitudes. In the category of ‘Sustainability Activists’—those who are most likely to be motivated by environmental factors—more than four in five (84%) are willing to pay more for food and drinks if they come from sustainable sources.


The segmentation highlights the spending power of these eco-engaged consumers. Sustainability Activists account for less than a third of all consumers (31%) but make up nearly half (48%) of On Premise visits. They also like to experiment and upgrade their choices, and are five and six percentage points more likely than average to like trying new or different drinks brands or pay more for a better quality drink.


OPUS shows these consumers are increasingly demanding of the brands they use—and if they don’t like what they see, they will go elsewhere. Well over a third (37%) of Sustainability Activists say they would be less likely to visit or purchase in the future if they found out their favourite food or drinks brand was not a sustainable business—7 percentage points more than average. Poor performance  from businesses in terms of sustainability also affects word of mouth, with nearly a third (31%) less likely to recommend a brand to others.


Earth Day on Wednesday 22 April provides a good opportunity for brands to show their environmental credentials. Key areas for businesses to focus on include social responsibility, recycled and recyclable materials, local sourcing and waste reduction initiatives, which are the factors most likely to give Sustainability Activists a positive impression of a brand.


Meanwhile CGA’s Business Leaders’ Survey shows how sustainability matters to restaurants, pubs and bars as well as consumers. Nearly half (47%) of leaders say their business is becoming more sustainable and two thirds (68%) plan to invest in green technology over the next three years—even more than the number (57%) who will invest in new sites. Leaders have also driven a sharp rise in vegan, vegetarian, seasonal and ethically sourced food and drink on menus, while energy-efficient practices and good use of recycled and recyclable materials are among their priorities for more change.


Violetta Njunina, CGA by NIQ Client Director, said: “Our research makes it clear that consumers and business leaders are both more engaged with sustainability than ever before. Reaching the core of environmentally aware adults is crucial to securing their spend and loyalty, and our segmentation makes it easy to understand their attitudes. These people are willing to spend freely if they see good sustainability practice, so identifying their top priorities and tailoring sales stories to them can make them much more likely to embrace a brand in the On Premise.”


CGA by NIQ’s OPUS solution provides in-depth insights into the impact of sustainability on consumers’ engagement and purchasing decisions in the On Premise. By highlighting their priorities and segmenting visitors, it helps suppliers and operators develop compelling sustainability strategies to increase sales and share. To learn more, contact Violetta Njunina here

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